US STOCKS-Nasdaq, S&P 500 rise, eye 3 weeks of gains

* SanDisk, Baidu shares jump a day after earnings

* American Express, Verizon weigh on Dow

* Dow down 0.3 pct, S&P up 0.1 pct; Nasdaq up 0.7 pct

* For up-to-the-minute market news see [STXNEWS/US]
(Updates to late afternoon)

By Edward Krudy

NEW YORK, Oct 22 (BestGrowthStock) – Technology shares advanced on
Friday after positive earnings from Baidu Inc (BIDU.O: ) and
SanDisk (SNDK.O: ) helped push the S&P 500 and Nasdaq toward a
third straight week of gains.

Profit at SanDisk, a maker of flash memory, and Baidu, the
Chinese Web search engine, beat Wall Street estimates and both
companies forecast strong demand ahead. Baidu’s shares rose 6.2
percent while SanDisk jumped 1.2 percent.

But American Express (AXP.N: ) slipped as regulatory issues
overshadowed rising profit while Verizon Communications Inc
(VZ.N: ) fell after it said additions of new wireless customers
may lag.

Encouraging earnings over the last three weeks have helped
stocks sustain upward momentum, so far defying expectations
that investors would take profits after strong results.

“To get decent earnings after a nice little rally in the
market and have the market sustain the gains or even achieve a
little more is a really good thing and bodes well,” said Robert
Stimpson, a fund manager at Oak Associates in Akron, Ohio.

The Dow Jones industrial average (.DJI: ) slipped 31.04
points, or 0.28 percent, to 11,115.53. The Standard & Poor’s
500 Index (.SPX: ) rose 0.68 point, or 0.06 percent, to 1,180.94.
The Nasdaq Composite Index (.IXIC: ) added 16.63 points, or 0.68
percent, to 2,476.30.

Also boosting the Nasdaq were shares of online retailer
Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O: ), which gained 2.6 percent to $169.30
after Wall Street analysts raised their price targets on the
company, even as Amazon gave a disappointing forecast on
Thursday. For details, see [ID:nSGE69L0GN]

“You have a lot of companies that I would consider
attractive in terms of strong balance sheets and growth
prospects,” said Subodh Kumar, chief investment strategist for
Subodh Kumar & Associates in Toronto.

Shares of American Express declined 2.7 percent to $39.18
while Verizon lost 1.6 percent to $31.99.

Technology led gains in the recent rally. The Nasdaq is up
17 percent since the end of August compared with the S&P 500,
which is up 12.6 percent.

Early reports from technology companies have given a mostly
rosy picture of the sector’s future, including Google’s
(GOOG.O: ) much stronger-than-expected earnings a week ago. Baidu
late Thursday gave a robust outlook for its business.
[ID:nN21118741].

The S&P 500 sent a bullish signal as the index’s 50-day
moving average crossed above its 200-day moving average, known
as a golden cross. That upward momentum indicator last occurred
in June 2009, and the benchmark index rose more than 35 percent
in the following 10 months.

However, the bullish signal can’t always be counted on to
signal an up market, according to Chris Burba, short-term
market technician at Standard & Poor’s in New York. “If you get
a golden cross when the market has been consolidating for a
while, you have a much higher probability the market is going
to take off,” he said.

Investors were alert for news from the G20, with the dollar
poised to snap a five-week losing streak against major
currencies.

Two top Federal Reserve officials gave contrasting views on
the need for more stimulus for the U.S. economy.
[ID:nN21128261]

Growing speculation in recent weeks that the Fed will
extend the quantitative easing measures at its next meeting in
November has pressured the dollar while boosting equities.

Equities have recently traded in tandem with the euro, with
S&P futures rising along with Europe’s single currency. For a
Q+A, see [ID:nN2199257].
(Reporting by Edward Krudy; Editing by Kenneth
Barry)

US STOCKS-Nasdaq, S&P 500 rise, eye 3 weeks of gains